WCOOP, the World's Preeminent Online Poker Series, Turns 21 WCOOP, the World's Preeminent Online Poker Series, Turns 21

The modern online poker schedule is littered with festivals and online series throughout the year, but a few series every year stand above the rest. Pokerstars' World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) is one of those series, with a 20-year prize pool total that tops $1 billion.

With two decades of history, the WCOOP has become one of the preeminent tournament series on the online poker calendar every year. Along with its cousin, the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), the COOP franchise is some of the best-attended and most-anticipated online events of the year.

Once again, the WCOOP is back on PokerStars’ schedule, with action beginning in early Sept of 2022 and running through most of the month. While there are currently no details on the full program, there are a few things we know to expect from this year’s series.

Last year, PokerStars celebrated its 20th anniversary with a colossal WCOOP that guaranteed $100 million. At the same time, numerous factors point to the fact that the 21st edition of WCOOP will be significantly smaller than the anniversary edition pokerfuse still predicts that there will be at least $80 million on offer across the series.

Last verified: Feb 2023
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More than $1 Billion Awarded in WCOOP History

The 2021 anniversary edition of the WCOOP marked the biggest WCOOP ever for PokerStars, and the second time the WCOOP collected more than $100 million in prizes across the series. The operator hit that mark in 2019 with almost $105 million in prizes and barely missed it in 2020 with nearly $99.8 million in total pots.

By the time the dust settled on the 2021 series, PokerStars had hit an astonishing milestone — more than $1 billion awarded in the history of WCOOP events. Yes, that is a billion with a B, as the $122,340,165 anniversary prize pool pushed the 20-year prize total to $1,095,234,197.

Beyond the $1 billion total, another interesting fact that emerges from the history of the WCOOP event is that in 20 years of games, the series has never failed to beat its guarantee. The record-breaking 2021 series beat the $100 million guarantee by more than 20%, while the $91 million prize pool in 2017 was more than 50% above the $60 million guarantee.

Over the years, there have been more than 6.6 million entries into WCOOP events, with nearly 1.5 million entries in the 2021 anniversary series alone. WCOOP first cracked the million entry mark in 2018 with 1,062,910, almost double the previous year’s 662,529.

20 Years of WCOOP History

Year Tournaments Total Entries Total Prizes Guarantee Gtd Diff
2002 9 2,452 $799,150 $250,000 219.66%
2003 11 6,796 $2,716,100 $1,000,000 171.61%
2004 12 10,085 $5,999,300 $4,000,000 49.98%
2005 15 19,727 $12,783,900 $8,000,000 59.80%
2006 18 27,398 $18,674,300 $10,000,000 86.74%
2007 23 40,280 $22,897,123 $15,000,000 52.65%
2008 33 55,686 $39,958,200 $30,000,000 33.19%
2009 45 112,739 $51,571,800 $40,000,000 28.93%
2010 62 140,790 $62,717,400 $50,000,000 25.43%
2011 62 119,832 $47,121,157 $30,000,000 57.07%
2012 65 126,050 $52,153,962 $30,000,000 73.85%
2013 66 144,935 $63,242,622 $40,000,000 58.11%
2014 66 138,514 $61,935,186 $40,000,000 54.84%
2015 70 109,904 $66,245,305 $45,000,000 47.21%
2016 82 122,310 $68,569,327 $50,000,000 37.14%
2017 164 662,529 $91,433,722 $60,000,000 52.39%
2018 185 1,062,910 $99,559,391 $70,000,000 42.23%
2019 219 1,172,858 $104,735,858 $75,000,000 39.65%
2020 225 1,119,186 $99,780,229 $80,000,000 24.73%
2021 306 1,428,869 $122,340,165 $100,000,000 22.34%
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What to Look For in WCOOP 2022

Details on the full schedule for WCOOP 2022 are still yet to be released, but we can make a few predictions about what to expect. As has become the norm lately, expect around 300 events across the 25-day series split between three different buy-in ranges.

The $100 million guarantee from 2021 will likely be reduced this year, despite crushing that number last year. There are many factors influencing that, not the least of which is the downturn across the industry as COVID restrictions have lifted and people have moved away from indoor activities to enjoy more freedom for the first time in a couple of years.

Beyond that industry-wide trend, the global poker scene has also undergone some changes recently. PokerStars has exited a few key markets including Russia and Ontario, Canada. That will significantly impact the available player pool — Ontario alone represents about 40% of the operator’s Canadian market, and the loss of Russian players in response to the invasion of Ukraine is almost incalculable.

As is the standard for PokerStars events, players should also expect a wide variety of poker formats in the series. While there will be plenty of two-card hold’em action across the series, there will also be less common formats like seven-card stud games, draw games, and mixed games on the schedule.

While Ontarians will need to look to their provincial schedule with a likely ONCOOP series in the cards this fall, the rest of Canada will be able to enjoy the full WCOOP schedule on the global client. Stay tuned here for schedule details and our usual deep dive into the best value events once it is publicly available.

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